The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) are reportedly keen to have some fan presence in the stadium during the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The thirteenth edition of the IPL is scheduled to take place entirely in UAE because of the coronavirus pandemic situation in India.
While cases are rising at an alarming rate in India, the situation is pretty much in control in UAE. And ECB wants to capitalise on the promising situation in their country by letting the fans attend the matches in grounds.While it will be impossible to create the usual carnival-like atmosphere in the stands, the ECB is hoping it would not be a totally behind closed doors affair as is the norm during the pandemic.
“As hosts, Emirates Cricket Board will work closely with the authorities to seek approval on what protocols need to be followed, this includes fan attendance,” ECB general secretary Mubashshir Usmani was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“We will then discuss with the BCCI (Indian board) to assess their spectator requirements. We want our Asian Diaspora, as well as the other ex-pat and Emirati sports-loving fans to be able to watch the action from the stands,” he added.
The tournament will be played across three venues — Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi. IPL 2020 is scheduled to start on September 19 with the final scheduled on November 10.
It is not the first time that the eight-team competition will be held outside India. In 2009, the entire competition was played in South Africa because of the general elections. Five years later, the early matches of the eight-team tournament were played in UAE for the same reason. And Usmani said ECB are fully aware of their duties thanks to hosting the competition in 2014.
“Having hosted the 2014 IPL our team is well aware of the requirements to deliver on a successful event,” Usmani said.
“We have a very capable team who has an exceptionally strong cricket-administration pedigree… We are very confident in delivering a successful tournament,” he added.